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New on DVD and Blu-ray Week of December 9-15

View Harley Lond's Profile

By Harley Lond - 12/09/14 at 12:39 AM CT

THIS WEEK'S THEATRICAL RELEASES:

"Guardians of the Galaxy": Surprise smash hit of the summer has an unlikely new Marvel team shooting for laughs and defending the universe from itself: Peter Quill, a brash, immoral human space adventurer; Rocket, a gun-toting genetically modified raccoon; Groot, a tree-like humanoid; the deadly assassin Gamora; and the revenge-driven Drax. The absorbing space opera -- harking back to the tongue-in-check days of early TV and movie serials -- kicks off when Quill steals a The most unlikely superhero team, led by Chris Pratt, The Guardians of the Galaxy helped saved the summer 2014 movie season by becoming on of the top action movies of the year. coveted orb and becomes the object of a relentless intergalactic bounty hunt. To evade his enemies, he forges an uneasy truce with the other misfits to form The Guardians of the Galaxy. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb, he must rally his ragtag band for a desperate battle that will decide the fate of the universe. Great fun. Stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro. Extras include deleted scenew, making-of featurettes, gag reel, commentary. From Disney.

"Calvary": Brendan Gleeson delivers a tour-de-force performance in this darkly comic tale of murder and morality from acclaimed writer-director John Michael McDonagh ("The Guard"). Father James (Gleeson) is a good priest who feels sinister forces closing in after being threatened by a mysterious parishioner. As he continues to comfort the troubled members of his windswept, small-town community, including his own fragile daughter (Kelly Reilly), Father James begins to wonder if he will have the courage to face his own personal Calvary. Chris O'Dowd turns in a sensational performance as a suspicious townsman with ulterior motives. Not to be missed. From Fox.

Also due this week: "Dolphin Tale 2," a sequel to the heart-warming and uplifting "Dolphin Tale"; Charles Martin Smith, who directed the original, wrote and directed this outing that was inspired by another true story about the world’s most extraordinary dolphin, Winter. Stars Harry Connick Jr., Nathan Gamble, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson. From Warner ... And "When the Game Stands Tall," a sports drama that tells the remarkable journey of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel), who took the De La Salle High School Spartans from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak that shattered all records for any American sport ... until tragedy stuck the team. Co-stars Michael Chiklis, Alexander Ludwig and Laura Dern. From Sony.

THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS:


"Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead" (2014 -- Norway) is the unbelievably fabulous sequel to the 2009 cult zombie hit about a ski vacation that turns horrific when a group of medical students resurrect an army of Nazi Zombies led by one Oberst Herzog; before that film was over, only one man, Martin, was left alive; his friends were devoured, he accidentally killed his girlfriend with Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead Blu-Ray Cover an axe, and then cut his own arm off with a chainsaw. This sequel, which outperforms the original in every way, picks up the following morning when Martin wakes up in a hospital bed with a new arm -- but it's a super-powered Zombie arm that wants to kill him and anything else it can reach. Martin escapes, meets up with a trio of zombie killers from the U.S., called the Zombie Squad, and figures out a way to deliver some payback to Colonel Herzog -- by raising an undead army of his own. Funny, clever, intelligent, self-referential and with some great special effects, this has to be one of the best zombie films ever made. There's a refreshingly original storyline, fine acting and solid direction; helmer Tommy Wirkola knows his stuff (and has a great sense of humor -- he not only pokes fun at zombie films in general but at his own zombie film). Warning: "Dead Snow 2" has an ending like no other zombie film -- strike that, like no other film -- ever. You will not believe your eyes. Stars Vegar Hoel, Orjan Gamst, Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer, Ingrid Haas. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Highly recommended. From Well Go USA.

There's a pair of classic TV series due this week from Shout! Factory: "The Jeffersons: The Complete Series - The Deee-luxe Edition" is a 33-disc box set with all 253 episodes from the 11 seasons of the classic sitcom developed by Norman Lear ("All in the Family," "Mary Hartman, DVD Cover for The Jeffersons: The Complete Series - The Deee-luxe Edidion Mary Hartman") together for the first time, $229.99. Originally airing from 1975 to 1985, "The Jeffersons" documented the side-splitting exploits of an upwardly-mobile family: dry cleaning entrepreneur George (Sherman Hemsley), his wife Louise (Emmy winner Isabel Sanford), and their son Lionel, as they move from the working-class section of Queens to a luxury apartment in Manhattan. George's brash, arrogant personality always seems to get him in hot water. Lucky for him, he’s got the level-headed "Weezy" by his side and their wise-cracking maid Florence (Marla Gibbs) to keep him humble. Together, they overcome the comic challenges and culture clashes that their new way of life brings. Featuring a terrific supporting cast (including Paul Benedict, Roxie Roker and Franklin Cover), memorable guest appearances (Sammy Davis Jr., Gladys Knight, Reggie Jackson, Billy Dee Williams and more) and of course, one of the catchiest theme songs in television history ... "Mister Ed: The Complete Series" is a 22-disc set with all 143 episodes from the show's DVD Cover for Mister Ed: The Complete Series six seasons, including all Season 1 episodes in their original full-length for the first time and with Season 6 on DVD for the first time. $139.99. The world's most famous talking horse; the Olivier of equine actors; the one and only Mister Ed! Architect Wilbur Post (Alan Young) and his wife Carol (Connie Hines) have settled into a beautiful new home, complete with a barn in the backyard…and a very unique tenant. Wilbur finds that the former owner has left his horse behind. He soon discovers that this is no ordinary horse, as the eloquent Mr. Ed can talk, but only to Wilbur. The anxious architect and the pontificating palomino soon become the best of friends, leading to all sorts of comedic misadventures. Winner of the 1963 Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series (Comedy), "Mister Ed" is undoubtedly one of the most memorable sitcoms of its era. From its kooky premise to its devilishly catchy theme song, it has endured as a true television classic.

From The Criterion Collection this week: "The Night Porter" (1974), an unsettling drama from Italian filmmaker Liliana Cavani about a concentration camp survivor (Charlotte Rampling) who discovers her former Safe Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Cover torturer and lover (Dirk Bogarde) working as a porter at a hotel in postwar Vienna. When the couple attempt to re-create their sadomasochistic relationship, his former SS comrades begin to stalk them. ... In "Safe" (1995), Julianne Moore gives a breakthrough performance as Carol White, a Los Angeles housewife in the late 1980s who comes down with a debilitating illness. After the doctors she sees can give her no clear diagnosis, she comes to believe that she has frighteningly extreme environmental allergies. A profoundly unsettling work from director Todd Haynes ... and "Time Bandits" (1981), Terry Gilliam's fantastic voyage through time and space about a boy who escapes his gadget-obsessed parents to join a band of time-traveling dwarves. Armed with a map stolen from the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson), they plunder treasure from Napoleon (Ian Holm) and Agamemnon (Sean Connery) -- but Evil (David Warner) is watching their every move. All three releases are available in Blu-ray and DVD versions.

BUZZIN' THE 'B'S:


"I Origins" (2014), starring Michael Pitt, Brit Marling and Astrid Berges-Frisbey, is a thought-provoking drama that challenges the line between facts and faith. Dr. Ian Gray (Pitt) is a molecular biologist studying the evolution of the eye, along with his lab partner, Karen (Marling). After a tragic romance with an exotic young woman (Berges-Frisbey), Gray's obsession DVD Cover for Frank with her triggers a chain of events that leads to a stunning discovery years later ... one that may unlock the greatest mysteries of life. From Fox ... In "Day of the Mummy" (2014), starring Danny Glover, William McNamara, Andrea Monier, Robin Steffen, Philip Marlatt, Eric Young and Michael Cortez, an adventurer's search in Egypt for the famed diamond known as the Codix Stone unleashes the wrath of a centuries old mummy. From Image Entertainment ... "Frank" (2014), starring Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson and Maggie Gyllenhaal, is an offbeat comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Gleeson), who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Fassbender), a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and his terrifying bandmate Clara (Gyllenhaal). On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... A self-absorbed writer rediscovers himself, his offbeat family and what it means to be happy when he meets a spirited young woman who asks him to write her obituary in "Finding Joy" (2014), starring Josh Cooke, Liane Balaban, Barry Bostwick, Lainie Kazan, Tyler Bunch, Kiki Harris. From Inception Media Group.

FOREIGN:


"The Little Bedroom" (2014 -- Switzerland), starring Michel Bouquet and Florence Loiret Caille. When Edmond (Bouquet), a man quickly facing the loss of his independence, is placed in a care facility after taking a DVD Cover for The Little Bedroom bad fall, he discovers that his son has sold his apartment. Determined to reclaim his autonomy, he leaves the care facility with Rose (Caille), an empathetic nurse still suffering from the loss of her unborn child. She takes him into her home to allow him the measure of freedom he deserves. Through this new living situation they develop a bond, which helps them both move forward with their lives. However, the unlikely friends must face the consequences when Edmond is reported missing. From Cinema Libre Studio ... "The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears" (2013 -- Belgium), starring Klaus Tange. Following the disappearance of his wife, a man finds himself on a dark and twisted trail of discovery through the labyrinthine halls of his apartment building. Led on a wild goose chase by cryptic messages from his mysterious neighbors, he becomes entangled in a hellish nightmare as he unlocks their strange fantasies of sensuality and bloodshed. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Strand Releasing.

SPECIAL INTEREST:


In "Jingle Bell Rocks!" (2014), director Mitchell Kezin delves into the minds of some of the world's most legendary Christmas music fanatics in a quest for the best, under-appreciated DVD Cover for Jingle Bell Rocks! Christmas songs ever recorded. Kezin's obsession with offbeat Christmas music -- "Why, when Christmas rolls around, are we still stuck cozying up with Bing Crosby under a blanket of snow?" -- takes him around the country to search the dusty shelves of obscure record stores and meet some other holiday music fanatics and collectors, including hip-hop legend Joseph "Rev Run" Simmons of RUN-D.M.C., The Flaming Lips' frontman Wayne Coyne, filmmaker John Waters, bebopper Bob Dorough, L.A. DJ and musicologist Dr. Demento, and Calypso legend The Mighty Sparrow. As long as Kezin sticks with the hunt for rare records, the film runs smoothly; when he starts to plumb the deeper, psychological depths of the obsession, the film bogs down into a quagmire of touchy-feely emotions. Still, it's a fun outing and, heck, it turned me on to a bunch of alternative Christmas musical offerings. From Oscilloscope ... "Exodus: The Real Story" (2014) is a two-disc collection that features five HISTORY documentaries that explore the biblical telling of Moses's exodus from Egypt, including "Moses and the Ten Commandments," "Moses: Death Chase", "Joshua: Epic Slaughter," "The Secret Life of King Ramses II" and "The Lost Ark of the Covenant." $14.98 from Lionsgate.

FROM TV TO DVD:


"Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series" (2014) has a brand new face at the controls of the TARDIS with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor; 12 episodes from BBC Home Entertainment ... "Hart to Hart: Season Three" (1981-82) is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $39.97. Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers star as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, a wealthy and glamorous couple who always DVD Cover for Hart to Hart: Season Three manage to find themselves caught up in mystery and adventure. In this detective drama reminiscent of the "Thin Man" movies, Wagner and Powers charmed audiences with their lighthearted chemistry and adventures. Assisting the Harts in their jet-setting life of intrigue, the loyal and gravel-voiced servant Max (Lionel Stander) provided an earthy counterpoint to the elegance of his employers. Created by Sidney Sheldon, the bestselling novelist ("Master of the Game," "Windmills of the Gods," "The Other Side of Midnight") and hit television producer ("I Dream of Jeannie," "The Patty Duke Show"). From Shout! Factory ... "In Search of Aliens: Season One" (2014) follows ancient astronaut theorist Giorgio A. Tsoukalos as he travels the world exploring the world's most ancient mysteries. Three-disc set, $19.98 from Lionsgate ... All 22 Under the Dome: Season 2 Blu-Ray Cover episodes of "Mork & Mindy: The Fourth Season" (1981-82) hits DVD for the first time; $39.99 from CBS/Paramount ... "Mork & Mindy: The Complete Series" (1978-82) is a 15-disc set with 95 restored episodes from all four seasons, plus the two episodes from the TV series "Happy Days," which "hatched" the Mork character; $129.99 from CBS/Paramount ... "Under the Dome: Season 2" (2014) is a four-disc set with 13 episodes. From executive producer Steven Spielberg and based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, "Under the Dome" revisits the small New England town that was suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome. The town's inhabitants continue to do their best to survive the post-apocalyptic conditions while searching for answers to what this barrier is, where it came from and if and when it will go away. DVD: $65.99, Blu-ray Disc: $76.99; from CBS/Paramount.

Check out other December 9-15 DVD releases and reviews at OnVideo.

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